Thursday, October 26, 2006

Atheism and Creationism: A Call for Balance

Richard Dawkins, renowned scientist and author of the seminal work in Evolutionary theory, The Selfish Gene is foremost among a current group of intellectuals who zealously promote a new brand of Atheism, one that is uncompromising and certain of its assumptions.

If this has a familiar ring then you may also be aware of the subtle Evangelical crusade to marginalize Darwin in school curricula throughout America, placing the theory of Evolution,at the very m
ost, on par with intelligent design, a thinly disguised veneer for creationism.

In an interview on a cover story for Wired magazine, Dawkins explains how he feels compelled to avert the slide into any kind of supernatural belief or any belief that is not based on proven science. His mission to forestall the spread of faulty thinking, thinking that he argues is propagated in the form of cultural memes. These are a name given to allegedly inheritable concepts that are passed on to further generations regardless of whether they are in fact true.

Cultural memes are Dawkin's own belief as yet not proven but undoubtedly based on soon to be validated science.

The mind reels at all of this assurance especially in the face of so much that is unknown.There's no ground in either faction for the vast middle ground that most of the world occupies, or for that matter the current state of knowledge in
physics ,questions of
the Quantum world, Dark matter, Dark energy unknown now and for the foreseeable future.

Dawkin's casual revisionist take denies the role religion has played in history for good; he dismisses visionary ideas and events that defy known laws of the universe and those who believe them. While the acceptance of the supernatural is an act of faith it does not by any means negate those experiences.

Life is full of unexplained mysteries, unaccounted for events just as it is also predictable in other ways
. To wholesale dismiss many millenia of religious thought as so much useless detritus that clouds clarity of thought does a disservice to the products of that religious feeling in art and civilization throughout the ages, furthermore it seeks to deny who we are.

It is a rejection ultimately of metaphor, the root metaphor that drives us all in one way or another.

Apparently similarly immune to a sense of metaphor, and ignoring centuries of exquisitely nuanced theological tradition in Biblical study, Creationists impose the strict literal interpretation of a
minority doctrine as a substitute for Natural Selection.

The urge for the assertion of the totalitarian idea was reoccurring theme in the work of Albert Camus. As part of the resistance movement in WWII France he was all too familiar with the resolutely self-affirming nature of Fascism and later Communism. He held no illusions about their promises, and while he also entertained little faith in the existence of a higher meaning he still urged the classical Greek idea of balance without excess as a basic posture. Camus would be a welcome moderating voice in the current debate, urging for balance at the risk of Hubris, excessive pride, or in this case to great a degree of certainty, in the face of all that exists.

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